News · Research

Gull Rocks Light Station, Rhode Island

“Gull Rocks Light Station Newport”, VM013_GF4707, Rhode Island Photograph Collection, Providence Public Library, Providence, RI

I came across these images of Gull Rocks Light Station in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, in the wonderful Rhode Island Collection at the Providence Public Library’s digital library. Both images were captured by William King Covell before and after the change in optic. The above image is dated 1921 and the one below is 1932. I’m not sure I’d ever seen this lighthouse design before!

“Gull Rocks Light Station Newport”, VM013_GF4708, Rhode Island Photograph Collection , Providence Public Library, Providence, RI

According to Jeremy D’Entremont’s “History of Gull Rocks Light Station, Newport, Rhode Island,” the station was built near Newport in the 1880s. “The lighthouse was a wood A-frame dwelling with two lanterns that traveled on rails through windows at the east and west peaks of the structure. One light was fixed white, the other fixed red. A fog bell and striking apparatus were installed in 1888. . . . In 1928, a single acetylene light on a skeleton tower next to the dwelling replaced the two earlier lights. At this time the keeper at Gull Rocks was also put in charge of Newport Harbor Light at Goat Island.”

The station was automated in 1960 and the dwelling destroyed in 1961. The light on the skeleton tower was discontinued in 1969, soon after the construction of the Newport Bridge. Today, all that remains is the oil house.

Submitted by Candace Clifford, U.S. Lighthouse Society Historian, February 11, 2017

 *  *  *  *  *

U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. Please consider joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member. If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to

3 thoughts on “Gull Rocks Light Station, Rhode Island

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.